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Local Eagle Scout soars to new heights

Lakes High School senior earns award, overcomes challenges

Lakes High School senior, Kenneth Richards, was named Washington’s American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2016. Photo credit: Carla Richards

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While most seniors fall prey to "senioritis", it seems to have skipped over local Lakes High School senior Kenneth Richards. His hard work paid off as he was named Washington's American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2016.

Kenneth first began as a tiger cub in 1st grade and now, with more than 10 years in the Scouts under his belt, Kenneth set his sights on the next level of Eagle Scout. "It takes hard work and dedication to make Eagle Scout," said Kenneth. "If you really want to succeed, you have to go to summer camp to meet merit badge requirements and need to make sure you're doing the work necessary in order to get Eagle."

He has certainly had his share of challenges, as he was diagnosed in 2008 with Tourette's Syndrome. But Kenneth never let that get in the way of what he wanted, and it was under his mother's guidance that he sent in his files to be considered for the award. After two months of waiting, the answer finally came back in the form of a letter. "I was shocked about the award," said Kenneth. There were plenty of nominees, but Kenneth had more "frosting on the cake ... and a cherry on top," as he puts it. This award came with a $2,000 scholarship and his application was forwarded to the American Legion's National Headquarters to be considered for the National Eagle Scout of the Year, which will provide additional scholarship opportunities.

Proud mother, Carla Richards, was over the moon at the notification that Kenneth received the award. "This award is near and dear to our family's heart as it is an extension of Kenny's respect and love he has for his Grandpa Virgil Richards. Kenny was eligible to apply for this award as a result of his grandpa, a Navy veteran, being a member of the American Legion Post #359 in Sylvan Grove, Kansas.  Applying for this award was a special way for Kenny to honor his Grandpa, one of his best friends, for his years of service to our country and just for being a wonderful mentor in his life."

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without my grandpa," said Kenneth. "So he's really excited about it, too."

Kenneth also attributes his resiliency to his father's 30 plus years of service as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserves. "Being a military dependent helps me a lot. My dad is an officer in the U.S. Navy and I understand things better and faster."

With graduation approaching, Kenneth plans to take a family cruise. "This will be my first cruise!" he said excitedly. As for the future, "I plan to go to Navy basic and get that out of the way. I want to do the military first because I want to build that foundation and get income coming in. After two to three years in the Navy, then I will start thinking about college."

On his road to success, Carla said proudly, "I am certainly proud of Kenny for representing the Richards name in this way!"

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